Do You Know God’s Plans for You?

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Chosen and Called of God To

There are many people today who are teaching this passage of Scripture out of its context, and they are applying it broadly to a large group of people who call themselves Christians, and in ways which do not agree with the biblical context nor with Scripture as a whole. Usually I go into the history behind this, but not today. So, I strongly recommend that you read the whole context of Jeremiah 29 to get a better picture of the meaning here.

But I would like for you to look with me now at the subject of what God’s plans are for us, but not according to what other humans are telling us, but according to the Scriptures. What does God say he has planned for our lives? What does Jesus, who is God, say? I think you will find that it is not what you generally hear taught on this passage from Jeremiah 29, because mostly what I hear taught on this, anyway, is not biblical.

Well, we read in Romans 8:29 that those of us who God foreknew he also predestined (preordained, decided, appointed) to be conformed (fitted, adapted) to the image (likeness, character) of his Son Jesus Christ. It was his plan from even before we were created that we should be like Jesus in heart, mind, character, and deed. And he called us to a holy calling, and to be holy is to be like Jesus and it is to be separate (unlike, different) from this sinful world (2 Timothy 1:8-9; Ephesians 1:3-4).

Then we read in 1 Peter 1:14-16 and in Ephesians 4:17-32 that, as obedient children (yes, we must obey our Lord), that we are to no longer be conformed (adapted) to the passions of our former way of living, which is corrupt through deceitful desires. But as he who called us is holy, so we also are to be holy in all our CONDUCT. And to be holy is to be different from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus. So we no longer walk in sin, but now, by the grace of God, we walk according to God’s Spirit.

The Grace of God to Us

Okay, now to a passage which is quoted nearly all the time as the primary gospel message, but now in context:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).”

Do you see the context here? Yes, we are not saved by something which is of our own flesh, of our own doing. But our salvation is not absent of works. It is just that now they are the works of God, and not our own works, and they are those which he prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, in conduct, in practice, and in his divine power and wisdom and strength. For he called us to be holy in all our CONDUCT, not just in profession only.

But then we must examine the Scriptures to look at what that gift of God is, and what his grace did for us, and what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ, which by the way is not something we can muster up ourselves, for this is not of our own doing, but this is God’s gift to us. So, this faith and this gift of God and his grace and his salvation because they are from God, will all align with God’s divine character and will for our lives.

So, we read in Titus 2:11-14 that the grace of God, which is bringing salvation to all people, is training us to renounce (say “No!” to) ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. For Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for GOOD WORKS” (verse 14).

So, you see, God’s grace to us is not just a free ride to heaven and a free escape from hell, and it is definitely NOT freedom to keep living in deliberate and habitual sin, only now without conscience or remorse. For Jesus died on that cross to free us from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. So we are to no longer let sin reign in our bodies, to make us obey its passions, for if sin is what we obey, it will end in death, not in life everlasting (Romans 6:1-23).

For, we are instructed that we must WALK by the Spirit so that we don’t gratify the sinful desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-21). For the works of the flesh are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. So we are warned that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In other words, we can’t live in habitual and deliberate sin against God, in practice, and have eternal life with God, regardless of what we have professed with our lips.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Welfare, Not for Evil

So, these are God’s plans for us, that we not walk in sin, but that we walk in righteousness and holiness, that we die daily to sin and to self, and that we walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands. And this is for our welfare, for what is best for us, for our good, and this is that we not be engaged in what is evil, but in what is holy and righteous. And if this is what we follow, in the power of God, by his grace, then we do have a future and a hope. But if we refuse, then we have no hope and our future is not in a good place.

And so his plans for us also are that we share the truth of the gospel with others and that we speak the truth in love to our fellow Christians so that they will not be led astray, and so they will not abandon the faith or receive a false faith, and so they will not end up in hell because they bought into a lie which tells them that they don’t have to repent of sin or obey the Lord but that they can still go to heaven when they die. But if we love people with the love of God we will tell them the truth. We won’t lie to them.

[1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:21; Matt. 5:13-16; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom. 10:14-15; Jn. 4:31-38; Jn. 13:13-17; Jn. 14:12; 1 Jn. 2:6; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13]

My Task

Songwriters: M.l. Ray / S.h. Pickup / E.l. Ashford

To love someone more dearly ev’ry day
To help a wand’ring child to find his way
To ponder o’er a noble tho’t and pray
And smile when evening falls
And smile when evening falls
This is my task

To follow truth as blind men long for light
To do my best from dawn of day till night
To keep my heart fit for His holy sight
And answer when He calls
And answer when He calls
This is my task

And then my Savior by and by to meet
When faith hath made her task on earth complete
And lay my trophies at the Master’s feet
Within the jasper walls
Within the jasper walls
This crowns my task

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